Both No. 13 BYU Cougars and No. 18 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers went into Saturday’s quickly arranged matchup with a sizable risk vs. reward scenario.

Win, and bolster your chances for a New Year’s Six bid.

Lose, and all hopes for a New Year’s Six berth are gone.

The game lived up to its billing of a top 20 contest between two unbeaten teams. It was the Cougars, though, who were dealt the heartbreaking result in a 22-17 loss, where BYU receiver Dax Milne was stopped at the 1-yard line on the final play of the game.

Offense

Cougar fans have become accustomed to BYU rolling up big offensive numbers this season. That didn’t happen Saturday, as Coastal Carolina came out with an effective game plan against the Cougars. 

Zach Wilson had an unusually uneven game. He looked rattled at times, not a surprise considering how much the Coastal Carolina front seven was disrupting the Cougar front. Still, Wilson finished 19 of 30 passing for 240 yards, one touchdown and an interception, and he also rushed for 55 yards. 

Related
BYU’s dream season and NY6 hopes buried by Coastal Carolina’s brilliant game of keep-away
Highlights, key plays and photos from No. 13 BYU’s 22-17 loss to No. 18 Coastal Carolina

On the Cougars’ final drive, when BYU got the ball back with 55 seconds to play at its own 18 with no timeouts and down five, Wilson looked poised. His stats from the drive backed that up, as he completed 5 of 6 passes — including a 33-yarder to Gunner Romney — to get the Cougars into position for the win. 

Unfortunately, it all ended up one yard short after Milne caught the pass over the middle from Wilson but was stopped before reaching the goal line as time ran out.

BYU put up 405 yards of total offense, and Milne had another nice outing (six receptions, 106 yards, one touchdown), as did running back Tyler Allgeier (13 carries, 106 yards, one touchdown), though a third-quarter Allgeier fumble led to a Chanticleers field goal.

BYU struggled much of the game, especially in the second half, to get a good balance of rush and pass. The Cougars were 4 of 10 on third down and gave up five tackles for loss, including a third-quarter sack that knocked BYU out of scoring position on a once-promising drive. In the fourth quarter, after Coastal Carolina took a 22-17 lead, the Cougars’ next two possessions netted just 8 yards on eight plays, including one three-and-out. 

It all led to the Cougars putting up only 17 points, 30 below their average this year, and only three points in the second half. In the end, that wasn’t enough against a tough Coastal Carolina team.

Grade: C-

Defense

The Cougar defense spent much of the game on the field — Coastal Carolina had a nearly 16-minute edge in time of possession. It was the Chanticleers’ rushing attack that kept things rolling for the home team, as Coastal Carolina ended up with 281 rushing yards — BYU had been giving up just 89.1 yards on the ground going into Saturday — and averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

Related
Defeat to upset-minded Coastal Carolina was BYU’s worst nightmare come true

Too often, Coastal Carolina, which finished 6 of 13 on third down, found itself in third and manageable situations after getting plenty of yardage on the ground on first and second down.

That led to the Chanticleers eating up clock and yardage on their three touchdown drives, which included drives of 94 yards (17 plays), 51 yards (11 plays) and 85 yards (13 plays). That helped keep the BYU offense out of rhythm.

The Cougar defense did well against the pass, holding Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall to 10 of 15 passing for 85 yards. McCall twice threw on third-down plays, and while he completed those passes, neither went for a first down.

The interior of the Cougars’ defensive front had a pair of individual standouts, as Bracken El-Bakri had 11 tackles, while Khyiris Tonga added 10 tackles and a pass breakup.

Too often, though, the BYU defense didn’t put enough pressure on the Chanticleers’ offense, as the Cougars had just one tackle for loss, a 1-yard sack in the first half.

Scoring summary:


Coastal Carolina 22, BYU 17


First quarter


CCU, CJ Marable 6-yard run (0:10), kick failed


Second quarter


BYU, Tyler Allgeier 42-yard run (13:50), Jake Oldroyd kick


CCU, Reese White 1-yard run (4:00), Massimo Biscardi kick


BYU, Dax Milne 41-yard pass from Zach Wilson (1:45), Jake Oldroyd kick


Third quarter


BYU, Jake Oldroyd 29-yard field goal (12:28)


CCU, Massimo Biscardi 41-yard field goal (6:32)


Fourth quarter


CCU, CJ Marable 2-yard run (11:35), two-point attempt failed


After Coastal Carolina went ahead by five in the fourth quarter, BYU forced punts on the Chanticleers’ final two drives. On the last one, though, the Cougars allowed Coastal Carolina to pick up 33 yards and a pair of critical first downs, which were costly with the game clock under five minutes and BYU with just one timeout remaining. That left the BYU offense in a scenario where the Cougars got the ball back with less than a minute to play and needing an 82-yard touchdown drive to win the game. 

Grade:

Special teams

Like other parts of the Cougars’ game Saturday, BYU’s special teams did little to stand out against the Chanticleers.

Jake Oldroyd stayed perfect this season on field-goal attempts, hitting a 29-yarder in the third quarter. He’s now 11-for-11 on field goals in 2020.

Ryan Rehkow punted the ball four times, for a 40.8 yard average, and three of those were downed inside the 20. Caleb Christensen (kickoffs) and Talmage Gunther (punts) both had multiple returns, though nothing outstanding.

The Cougars did have a couple of miscues that stood out on special teams: they were flagged for an illegal block on a kickoff return late in the second quarter that forced them to start a drive at its own 6. Gunther also fumbled on a punt return in the third quarter, though he recovered the ball.

While nothing BYU’s special teams did was particularly damaging, it wasn’t game-changing, either.

Grade:

Overall

No matter you slice it, this one hurt for the Cougars. 

BYU was hoping to make an appearance in a New Year’s Six bowl, and the loss ends those dreams. That means the Cougars will land in a mid-tier bowl, which has become their norm during the independence era.  

That’s a tough pill to swallow for a team that has largely been dominant this year but came up short when an equally talented Coastal Carolina squad made more plays at critical moments. 

Grade: C-